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with fourteen flowers, the other with thirteen. The smallest stem is two feet high, with one flower, making a total of twenty-eight. The largest of the flowers are about one foot in diameter; not so large, in proportion to the strength of the plant, as in previous years: but perhaps this may be accounted for by the fact that I was anxious to bring the plant into flower, and subjected it to the temperature of the East-Indian house (orchid-house) from the time the buds were half matured until several of them were expanded. In this way, I had it in flower in less than half the time I should in an ordinary greenhouse. The girth of the largest stem near the bottom is three and three-eighths, that of the other three and one-quarter, inches.
The Theory Of Silver Sand. — Silver sand, when mixed with the soil in potting, acts a little chemically on other constituents of the soil; but, to a great extent, the action is mechanical. In using it for striking cuttings, it is chiefly valued for its purity, its freedom from iron and other minerals, and clay, earth, and calcareous matters, which are often the accompaniments of other pit and river sands. The nearest to silver sand in usefulness is that collected on public roads after heavy rains ; which sand, when well washed, is about as pure silex as silver sand. What in practice makes it such a good covering for pots of cuttings is its freedom from other substances; its porosity, which allows the water freely to pass without lodging about and rotting the cuttings; and, notwithstanding this porosity, the closeness with which it clings round the cuttings, preventing the access of air to their base, which, if permitted to any extent, would rob them of their juices and vitality.
A Blue Bedding Geranium. — We have been asked as>to the probabilities of success in fertilizing bedding geraniums or pelargoniums with our wild species. We know of the experiment having been tried without success, and find in an exchange the following record of failure by an English gardener: —
"In the years 1857 and 1858,I endeavored to fertilize pelargoniums — Boule de Neige, Queen, Kingsbury Pet, and Prince of Orange —with the pollen of Geranium pratcuse. I repeated the experiment several times and under different circumstances, but succeeded only in obtaining two or three seeds, which produced plants bearing no resemblance whatever to ftratense. These seeds were doubtless the result of pollen from some of the bedding varieties having accidentally gained access to the flowers experimented on. I also tried to cross-fertilize the flow ers of a potted plant of G. pratense with some of the bedding pelargoniums, but did not succeed in obtaining a single seed. I made similar futile attempts with the spotted (show) varieties. I do not recollect ever having tried Geranium sylvaticum; but I endeavored on one occasion to intercross both the bedding and spotted pelargoniums with Geranium Itobertianum; and the results, I regret to say, only added to my long list of failures.
"I tried these experiments eight or nine years ago; but further experience and consideration satisfy me that it will be utterly useless to expect a cross between these varieties, or, as I ought perhaps rather to say, a hybrid between the bedding and show varieties of pelargoniums and the indigenous geraniums."
Hop-plant Propagating. —The hop is propagated by division, or parting the roots in autumn or spring; the latter being the better time. The divisions, which should have some eyes at the crown, and a portion of root, may be planted a foot apart. The hop may also be increased by cuttings of the shoots of the previous year, taking them off at the crown, with a heel; and this is best done in May. Plant them in the same way as the divisions, in rich, deep, loamy soil.
Bohemian Black Bigarreau. — This is "one of the largest and finest of our black-heart class of cherries. It is a variety that was introduced by Mr. Rivers of Sawbridgeworth, under the name of Bigarreau Radowesnitzer, — a name, the correct prounciation of which must in no small degree prove a stumbling-block to gardeners; and we have therefore rendered it into English by calling it Bohemian Black Bigarreau, in allusion to the country whence it is said to have its origin. Whether we regard this variety as to its size, flavor, or earliness, it is equally valuable. It ripens early in July, and is of the largest size, of a roundish heart-shape, very even and regular in its outline; skin shining, and jet black. The characteristically short stalk is very stout, and dark green. Flesh quite black, firm, but not so firm and crackling as Bigarreaux generally are, but juicy, richly flavored, and delicious. We would recommend this to be grown in every collection." —Florist andPomolojist.
Propagating Gloxinias From Leaves. — The gloxinea propagates freely from the leaves. The easiest way is to cut off a leaf with a good piece of the leaf-stalk, and plant the latter in pots just as you would cuttings. The leaf, if thus kept in a shady, moist place, will soon form a tuber at the base of the stalk. Another plan is to take the leaf, notch it at the back where all the smaller nervures meet the midrib, fix the leaf by small pins flat on a damp surface, and small tubers will form at all the notched parts. Another simple plan is to take a leaf, split it up at the midrib, and then cut outwards to the outside in strips, say one-quarter of an inch wide: plant these thickly in a pot, the part with the midrib being lowest; and almost every one of these slips of leaves will form a tuber at the base. It is thus easy to multiply any kind of gloxinia, or of fineleaved begonia, which may be propagated in the same way. By these modes, you do not obtain so large a tuber as when you use a leaf for a single tuber instead of a score or more. A moist, warm, shady place is necessary for success when the leaves are thus cut up into shreds.
Cynosures Cristatus (Crested Dogs-tail Grass). — This grass, which is very valuable for lawns, is thus described: "The roots are tufted, with long, unbranched fibres. Stems several, varying in height from twelve to eighteen inches, unbranched, very stiff, hard, round, smooth, with three or four joints, most leafy in the lower part, remaining brown, withered, and wiry, with their dry, empty spikes through the latter part of the summer; leaves bright green, short, narrow, flat, smooth on both sides, edge scarcely rough, with long, smooth, streaked sheaths; abrupt or ragged-ended and rather short stipules; the head, or spike of flowers, about two inches long, erect, stiff, straight and narrow, green;
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florets all turning to one side, sometimes purple,with a wavy rough stalk (rachis); floral leaves divided deeply into awl-shaped segments; husks, or glumes, usually containing three florets; smaller valve of the blossom ending in two points, larger valve ending in a short awn; anthers prominent, pendulous, purple; stigmas white, feathered; seed longish, oval, pointed, reddish yellow, covered with the valves of the corolla."
The crested dog's-tail grass is a perennial, and succeeds well on dry gravelly soils and in hilly situations. It is valuable for parks and lawns on account of its dwarf, slender growth : and is likewise admirably adapted for croquet-grounds; for it bears treading well, and is not liable to become brown in summer. It is one of the best of all grasses for resisting dry weather.
Gesnera Zebrina And Splendidissima.—The dry parched atmosphere of dwelling-rooms is very injurious to plants, particularly during the autumn and winter months when strong fires are kept up. Valuable plants that would suffer by being kept a few days in such an atmosphere should on no account be used for this purpose. Plants that do not suffer by this treatment should be as much as possible employed for in-door decoration. There are numerous plants well adapted for this purpose. I find these gesneras very useful. The roots are all fresh potted in April, and then placed in one of the vineries at work. I put one root into a small pot, three into larger pots, five into larger still, and as many as a dozen roots into very large pots. By this plan, I have plants of all sizes. I have the pots well drained; and I use a compost of nearly equal portions of loam, peat, and leaf-mould, mixed up with plenty of coarse river-sand.
The plants soon begin to grow when put into heat. As soon as they are a few inches high, they should be tied up neatly to stakes, and kept tied up from time to time as they advance in growth. I never shift them after they are potted. Gesnera splendidissima comes soonest into flower, generally in September, and lasts till December. G. zebrina begins to flower in October, and lasts till January. They both withstand the dry atmosphere of rooms for weeks; and, as the roots are generally full grown by the time they are in flower, they can be dried off when they are out of bloom on any shelf in the coolest part of the stove, and can remain there until the time for potting in April comes round again. — M. Saul, '.'.Florist"
Tropjeolums. — These constitute a most useful tribe of bedding plants: I allude to the dwarf varieties. Their growth is close and compact; they bloom very freely, and are easily propagated and preserved. King of Tom Thumbs has proved a great acquisition to this useful class, as the flowers are freely produced, and of an intense dark scarlet: the foliage also, being of a very dark green, is a pleasing contrast to the brilliancy of the flowers. Elegans is so well known as to need no description. It has gained a wide notoriety from being so largely employed at the Crystal Palace. The habit is very dwarf, and it is a free and continuous bloomer. Eclipse is of the same habit as Elegans, but is of an intense scarlet color, and has a telling effect in a mass, having a vividness not possessed by its more sober colleague Elegans. Garibaldi is also a good bedder: it is of a dark orange-scarlet color, and blooms very freely. Meteor produces a profusion of rich dark-crimson flowers, and is of good habit. The old Cattell's Crimson, Cattell's Scarlet, Scarlet Tom Thumb, and the Yellow Tom Thumb, are also very useful indeed; but the last will never make a good, much less a sufficient, substitute for the Yellow Calceolaria.
Of varieties for basket and trellis work, I may instance Brilliant, a stronggrowing, deep scarlet; Atrococcineum, known also as Splendens, very freeblooming, and having plenty of small, deep scarlet flowers; and Ball of Fire, very bright scarlet, a free bloomer, and a good climber. — Florist.
Those who, in consequence of the article in our February number translated from "L'Illustration Horticole," are disposed to give the Jerusalem artichoke a place in their gardens, ought fairly to know that it may not be so easy to get rid of it when it has once taken possession of the soil. By the way, could we not, while we keep the thing as a garden vegetable (for which it is not to be despised), contrive to get rid of its unfortunate name by calling it artichoke-root? The plant, as is well known, is a species of sunflower; and Jerusalem artichoke is merely sunflower artichoke, an English corruption of the French girasol, the I talian girasola, changed in England, through a linguistic process in which an unmeaning word is made to mean something, into Jerusalem.
While, from this name, some have imagined the plant to have come from Palestine, we are bound to add that neither is it "indigenous to Brazil" nor "to Chili." Although it is nowhere known as an indigenous plant, the whole evidence on the subject points to the Valley of the Mississippi as its birthplace, and to a wild sunflower of that region, with usually slender tubers, as its parent. While we write, we recall an experience related to us by a benevolent officer of our army, who, when stationed in New Mexico some dozen years ago, and noting that the Indians of the district were at times on the verge of famine, proposed to his superiors in the War Department to introduce and naturalize this prolific tuber in the valleys and bottoms, where it could hardly fail to thrive, He sent, accordingly, a requisition for a sufficient quantity of artichokes. This was allowed, and the order duly filled; but when at length, with much expense and long transportation, the precious supply reached the distant post, the artichokes were found to be pickled.
Grape-culture In Minnesota. — The assertion that grapes may be successfully cultivated in the high northern latitude of Minnesota will seem incredible to many. From a residence of sixteen years in Minnesota, and an experience of some twelve years with vines, I am decidedly of the opinion that grapes can be more successfully produced here than in the States farther south or at the East. This we know is claiming much for our State; yet the facts seem to bear us out in the assertion.
Grapes have been grown, to some extent, for about fifteen years; and, thus far, we have not heard of either vine or fruit having been injured by disease to an extent that would be considered worthy of notice. Mildew and rot, which cause such destruction in other parts of the country, are almost unknown here. This, all will admit, is a matter of no small importance, and especially those who talked of giving up the business. There is something about our invigorating atmosphere that seems to suit the fastidious vine, as well as the lungs of the consumptive who flees to our State for health. Our autumns are proverbially dry, with an abundance of sunny days to mature the fruit.
We have the most natural sites for the vine, extending along our noble Mississippi and its tributaries for hundreds of miles. A large proportion of the lakes for which our State is so much celebrated affords sites for vineyards, even more desirable than any to be found on the rivers, from the fact that the late and early frosts are quite unknown. Our Minnetonka, we venture to predict, will some day outdo your famous Crooked lake of New York. In these favored localities, the uncertain Catawba seldom fails; while the Concord, Delaware, Hartford, and other popular sorts, ripen usually some time before hard frosts.
As a matter of course, it is necessary to cover the vines in the fall, which is now generally recommended in States south and east. L. M. Ford.
St. Paul, January, 1867.
A correspondent in Southern Illinois writes that Scot's early peach promises to be one of the best for that locality.
The yellow bell-flower apple is also mentioned as a most desirable variety. Instead of being an autumn apple, as is generally supposed, it will, with proper care, keep till March. While young, the trees are not great bearers; but, with age, they produce an abundance of fine fruit.
As a market-apple, it is unsurpassed; its handsome appearance always making it sell well.
In Curtis's "Botanical Magazine" for February, we find the following stoveplants figured : —
Tapeinotcs Carolina;. — A native of Brazil, discovered in I860, and flowered in England in i866. A succulent, low shrub; leaves glaucous-green above, bright red-purple below; flowers white, with curved, inflated tube.
Angra>atm citratum. — An orchid from Madagascar, with a long spike of paleyellow, scentless flowers.
Impatiens latifolia. — Another of the vast family of Indian perennial balsams, of which only two or three are in cultivation, though all are very ornamental. A succulent shrub, with pale-purple flowers about an inch and a half in diameter.
Claviga fulgens. — A small stove-tree; leaves long, dark-green, coriaceous; flowers deep orange-red, in long, erect racemes. Of easy culture, free-flowering, and a very ornamental plant.
Mesospinideum sanguineum. — A South-American orchid, introduced in 1866 from Ecuador. Flowers rosy-pink, in long, branching spikes. The genus is nearly allied to Odontoglossum, and the plant requires similar treatment.
Barleria Gibsoni. — A small Indian winter-blooming shrub, with lilac, whitecentred flowers in terminal spike.